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|Wednesday, February 15, 2012|
What do Bain Capital, a Boston-based private equity firm, and New Seasons Market, the Portland-based organic grocery chain, have in common? Co-founded by Mitt Romney, Bain has faced increasing scrutiny since the former Massachusetts governor announced his presidential run. Co-founded by Eileen Brady, New Seasons has also found itself in the spotlight since the mayoral hopeful announced her candidacy.
But if New Seasons is good for Brady, Brady's campaign is “not necessarily” good for New Seasons, said chief executive Lisa Sedlar. There’s been no negative impact on sales, Sedlar told me. “But political elections tend to be polarizing, and I don’t want New Seasons to be stuck in the middle of some oppositional battle.”
In Oregon, companies founded by present day politicos tend to be relatively small, such as Pareto Global, a consulting firm founded by Rep. Jules Bailey. While those firms may stay under the radar, larger companies face more scrutiny — for better or worse. “Whether or not the Brady campaign helps or hurts New Seasons I’m not sure,” said Mike Riley, president of Riley Research Associates, a market research firm. ‘They would probably opt not to be in the spotlight.”
Sedlar seems reconciled to the glare. Months ago, when Brady first announced her candidacy, Sedlar sent out a staff email announcing one of our “co-founding family members is running for mayor” and reminding employees “we don’t endorse candidates and we don’t want anybody to talk about the election on the sales floor.”
New Seasons may have sold, but so far it’s still locally owned.
Linda Baker is managing editor of Oregon Business.
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